Judge Jeffery Paulk McGowan, age 77, of Pearson, GA, passed away on Friday morning, March 8, 2019, surrounded by her loved ones, at her home, following an extended illness. Judge McGowan honorably served the people of Atkinson County as its Probate Judge from 1997 through 2008 and will be fondly remembered for her public service and many contributions to the community through her dedicated service, public work, and business ventures over the years.
A native of Willacochee, Georgia, Mrs. McGowan was born on September 27, 1941, to Mr. & Mrs. Jeff (Pearl Roberts) Paulk. In addition to her parents, Mrs. McGowan was preceded in death by her late husband, Dwayne J. “Mac” McGowan, who passed away in 1983. Mrs. McGowan was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Pearson Ward.
While she enjoyed singing in her younger years, Mrs. McGowan became a successful business owner, entrepreneur, and public official over the course of her adult life. Beginning in 1997, she served 3 terms as Atkinson County Probate Judge, retiring from office in December 2008. Prior to her service in public office, she was a licensed beautician for 32 years with places of business in Valdosta, Pearson, and Douglas. She also worked as an Inspector with the State Board of Cosmetology for 2 years. Most people will forever associate Mrs. McGowan with The Clothes Closet, her retail clothing and accessory shop in Pearson, as well as her floral and gift shop that was in the same location in later years. Not known to ever stop working, Mrs. McGowan, in the last decade after leaving the Probate Court, ventured into the real estate sales and rental business.
Mrs. McGowan leaves behind the following survivors to remember her legacy: son and daughter-in-law, Carl and Nora McGowan of Pearson, GA; daughter and son-in-law, Angie and Chad Odum of Pearson, GA; son and daughter-in-law, Chad and Crystal McGowan of Pearson, GA; brother and sister-in-law, Major General USAF, Ret., John R. and Gail Paulk of Ruskin, FL; sister, Bonnie Manning of Jacksonville, FL; sister, Jeanie Paulk of Douglas, GA; sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Ed Flanagan of Perry, GA; sister and brother-in-law, Kay and George Relihan of Pearson, GA; grandchildren, Ashley McGowan and wife, Savannah; Alyson McGowan and fiancé, Wesley Atwood; Bailey Odum; Peyton Odum; and Ila McGowan; and great-grandson, Charlie McGowan. Several nieces, nephews, and other relatives also survive.
Funeral services for Mrs. McGowan were held on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at 2:00 P.M. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Pearson, GA. Bishop Clee Sirmans presided over the service, and Bro. Stevie Sirmans officiated. A special song, “Come Back Home,” was played to begin the service. Mrs. McGowan’s oldest son, Carl, provided a heartfelt, humorous, and touching eulogy about his Mother. The congregation sang “Nearer, My God, To Thee” and “Til We Meet Again,” with Ms. Priscilla Adams accompanying on the organ and also providing prelude and postlude music.
Mrs. McGowan was laid to rest next to her late husband in Satilla Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Douglas, GA. Bro. Dan Vickers presided over the grave dedication.
Serving as active pallbearers were: Bob Manning, Jake Relihan, Jeff Paulk, Wesley Atwood, Matt Rucker, and Shea Browning.
Relihan Funeral Home of Pearson, GA was in charge of the arrangements.